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The International Center for Mental Toughness Research and Development

The Global Advisory Board

10 Principles which guide our work with the mental toughness concept.

Now in its third year, The International Center for Mental Toughness Research and Development was established to support and encourage the development of the mental toughness concept with a particular emphasis on practical application which is based on sound evidence.

At the heart of the Center is an Advisory Board which currently consists of circa 25-30 people who meet 4 times a year. The composition is intended to be balanced between Senior Academics, Senior Practitioners, AQR International staff as well as supporters of the mental toughness concept. Most serve for a minimum of 2 years.

The composition is designed to capture a wide range of interests and expertise. These represent each continent and sectors such as coaching, education, occupational, OD, health, sport, social mobility etc.

A significant element of its purpose is to harness the skills, enthusiasm and interest of stakeholders to:

  • Identify where research and development of the concept and, in particular, its applications may be usefully directed and supported.
  • Develop collaboration between interested parties to create case studies, research papers, and development approaches that are well-evidenced.

The International Center for Mental Toughness Research and Development and its Advisory Board are evolving. The next stage is to expand the Board to enable participants from around the globe to engage in special interest groups to explore the value that the concept and the MTQ measures can bring to specific areas of application.

An important first step is to present a statement about the way product and concept development will take place. A statement of the standards that the ICMTRD and AQR International will uphold.

Mental toughness is a discrete and coherent concept describing how people respond mentally to what happens to them. It is a personality trait which applies to all people in all situations. The 8-factor 4Cs model is a valid and well-evidenced explanation for the mental toughness concept. Mental toughness is a global and inclusive concept which embraces and connects several ideas such as resilience, positivity, grit, mindset, learned optimism/learned helplessness, etc. Moderate to high levels of mental toughness are shown to be associated with · better mental health and wellbeing as well as sleep. · improved physical health including nutrition, weight management, fatigue, etc. · better performance in many situations including high stress settings. The MTQPlus and MTQ48 mental toughness questionnaires are valid and reliable measures, supported by extensive psychometric testing and peer review. Mental toughness can be developed, or coping strategies applied, to enable individuals to enhance performance and wellbeing. The mechanisms are not yet always fully understood. Self-awareness of one’s mental toughness can be an enabler for the mentally sensitive and the mentally tough to achieve enhanced economic, health, wellbeing and performance benefits. Mental toughness is a significant part of the explanation for performance, wellbeing, agility and aspirations. It is not necessarily the whole of the explanation – other factors such as ability, interest, motivation, etc can be relevant. Mental toughness and mental sensitivity are not pejorative terms, labels or types. They do not imply “good” or “bad”, strength or weakness. Most people possess elements of both in their profile. The key for optimising one’s approach to life and work is self-awareness of one’s profile across the 8 factors. Of fundamental importance is a commitment to supporting and carrying out evaluation and research, independent and peer reviewed where possible, to ensure that what is offered in terms of the concept and practical approaches is evidence based.

An important objective will be the establishment of a journal, in due course, through which both research and robust case studies can be published.